CHARLESTON, S.C. - Five Buccaneers were in double-digits on Saturday night and a balanced effort by the Charleston Southern defense held visiting Toccoa Falls to 27 percent shooting as CSU topped the Screaming Eagles in the Buc Dome, 101-54.
Toccoa Falls (4-5) jumped out to an 8-0 lead over the first 85 seconds of the game, before CSU (3-2) utilized a 26-7 run to build a double-digit lead the Bucs would not relinquish the rest of the way in the home win. CSU's defense held TFC scoreless from the floor for a 13 minute stretch in the second half on the way to improving to 2-1 at home in the 2016-17 season.
CSU's second half encouraged head coach Barclay Radebaugh as the Bucs held Toccoa Falls to 19.2 percent shooting and forced 12 turnovers over the final 20 minutes. The Bucs also held the 28-10 rebounding advantage in the second half.
"I thought our second half was terrific," Radebaugh said. "Toccoa Falls is certainly a difficult team to guard because of their size. I thought we made some strides defensively tonight and offensively in executing our system. We're still a very young team with a lot of new faces out there. Every game means so much to us and every day is an opportunity to improve. I thought in some small ways we improved tonight."
The Bucs recorded their best offensive output of the season with highs in points (101), field goal percentage (57.5%), three-pointers (13), three-point percentage (46.4%), and assists (21). All 14 players who dressed for CSU scored in the contest with 13 players making multiple shots from the floor in the game.
"What I love about this team is they are willing to work hard; they are willing to put in the time and effort," Radebaugh said. "I thought our offensive execution and ball-sharing was good tonight. 21 assists is a number that is always acceptable and we shared the ball at a high rate tonight."
CSU faces a quick turnaround before heading back to the road on Tuesday night as the Buccaneers travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Tipoff in Coleman Coliseum on the SEC Network is set for 7 p.m. Following the road trip, CSU is back in the Buc Dome as the Bucs host Abilene Christian in a rematch of Tuesday's pre-Thanksgiving thriller Buccaneer win in Texas.
"The next week is such a big week for us," Radebaugh said. "Alabama is such a good team. They're big, strong, and physical. I took a peek at them today and they are a big, strong SEC team. I have a lot of respect for them and the work they put in on the defensive end of the floor."
"We'll take one game at a time," Radebaugh continued. "Saturday, we'll come back to one of the best teams we've played in a while as Abilene Christian comes back here. People don't realize how good they are. They're an extremely well-coached, physically tough team. We've got a really tough week ahead of us, but I'm looking forward to it."
Raemond Robinson led CSU's scoring efforts with 14 points. The senior guard connected on 4-of-6 from behind the arc with three coming in the second half to lead five Bucs in double-digits in the game. Patrick Wallace (11), Cortez Mitchell (11), Armel Potter (10) and Christian Keeling (10) were also in double-digits in the contest.
Javis Howard led the Bucs' rebounding efforts with a game-high nine rebounds. He added eight points as the Bucs shot 55.3 percent from the floor and held the 53-28 rebounding advantage in the game.
Cameron Williams and Jovan Morris three-pointers sandwiched a Josh Folwell layup to give Toccoa Falls an 8-0 lead. The Bucs took over from there with Mitchell sparking a 26-7 run over the next eight minutes to give CSU the 26-15 lead. Robinson, Jamal Thomas, and Wallace all hit three-pointers during the stretch to give the Bucs the double-digit lead.
Potter led CSU with nine points at the break as the Bucs led by as many as 21 following a Jamar Martin triple at the 5:51 mark to give CSU the 42-21 lead. Ugo Mmonu and Mitchell added layups before the break to give CSU the 51-31 lead at the half.
The teams traded baskets out of the break with the Bucs holding the 56-36 lead following a three-pointer by TFC's Morris at the 17:26 mark. The Morris triple would be the Eagles' lone basket over the next 12:44 as CSU held TFC to free throws in going on a 32-10 run to put the game away.